John Lackey

John Lackey to undergo Tommy John surgery, will miss 2012

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Well, at least this explains why he couldn’t get anyone out.

John Lackey traveled to California to have his elbow examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum and the Red Sox announced today that he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for all of 2012 and perhaps part of 2013.

Lackey will earn $15.25 million while rehabbing next season and is also owed $15.25 million in both 2013 and 2014.

Undergoing elbow surgery also triggers a 2015 option in his contract for the MLB minimum salary, so the Red Sox just got themselves another year of Lackey and more importantly are now able to stretch his contract over another season to lessen their luxury tax figures.

The decision to sign Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract was obviously one of Theo Epstein’s worst and in an amusing twist Epstein’s replacement as Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, made his first official act as GM announcing Lackey’s surgery decision.

Boston now has two clear openings in the rotation behind Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. And it turns out Lackey was pitching (horribly) through a torn elbow ligament while being ripped to shreds by the same fans and media members who constantly want everyone to play through injuries. Of course, it also turns out the Red Sox kept giving the ball to a guy with a torn elbow ligament for key September starts.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.